Thursday, March 24: in Cuenca

Thursday dinner

Where we had an early dinner on Thursday

By about 4 pm we had settled into our room and since we had skipped lunch we went looking for an early supper. Several restaurants were not serving supper yet. However, we found this one and had a chicken breast in mushroom sauce, rice and French fries. While we were eating we had a brief shower. We’re told that it rains often. If the morning is sunny, there is often a rain in the afternoon. Or, there is rain in the morning and the afternoon is sunny.

Bookstore near our hostel

Bookstore near our hostel where many English-speaking expats hang out.

After supper we were heading back towards our hostel when we came across this bookstore. The sign in the window said they sold maps so we went in. They didn’t have a map of Cuenca but we did discover where to get one and that this is where the English speaking expats hang out. This will be a very valuable source of information!

AveMaria Redemptrix Captivorum

AveMaria Redemptrix Captivorum

The proprietor of the bookshop is an ex-American who was a Peace Corp member sent to Peru during the Kenedy era. When he came back to the States he got his PhD in Spanish literature and taught University for many years. He came to Cuenca in 1990 and moved here permanently about 7 years ago. He told us where to go to get a good map and along the way we passed this lovely church.

Iglesia del Sagrario

Iglesia del Sagrario, the oldest cathedral in Cuenca

Our search for the map took us through the old central part of Cuenca. This has some of the best preserved colonial Spanish architecture in South America and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. As we approached the Plaza Abdon Calderon we passed the oldest cathedral in Cuenca, Iglesia del Sagrario.

Catedral de la Immaculada

Catedral de la Immaculada, the new cathedral in Cuenca

On the south side of the plaza is the Informacion Touristica (open 8am till 8pm) where we picked up a decent map of Cuenca. On the West side of the Plaza is the new cathedral, Catedral de la Immaculada. Since it was late in the day, we didn’t go in but we’ll be back!

Flower market

The flower market across the street from the new cathedral.

Across the street from the new cathedral is the flower market. Since it was late in the afternoon, some of the vendors had left. But, there were still many beautiful flowers for sale. There is supposed to be a shop that sells lottery tickets and a very good map of Cuenca in this area but we couldn’t find it.

Colonial architecture

One of the many fine examples of colonial architecture.

As we walked back towards our hostel we passed many fine examples of collonial Spanish architecture. Many of the buildings are undergoing extensive renovations to restore them to their original splendor. Note the ornate iron work around the balconies of this buildiing.

San Francisco

This is San Francisco, a church built by the Franciscan order.

We walked past the San Francisco church that was erected by the Franciscan order.

As we got closer to our hostel we passed several more interesting examples of Spanish colonial buildings.

Colonial architecture

A fine example of restored Colonial architecture

Pictures in frames

Note the pictures in ornate frames on the front of this building

As we headed home for bed the sun was setting over the mountains to the west of Cuenca.

Sunset in Cuenca

The sun setting over the mountains near Cuenca